The Thacker Mountain Radio Hour will perform a special show in Sumner at 2 p.m. Saturday, March 21 as part of activities to commemorate the opening of the newly restored Tallahatchie County Courthouse. The building is famous as the site of the 1955 Emmett Till murder trial which galvanized the Civil Rights movement. Sumner is located in western Tallahatchie County, approximately 40 miles north of Greenwood.
Guests for the one-hour program, to be held in the courtroom of the courthouse, will be Mississippi R&B singer Dorothy Moore, Pulitzer Prize winning-photographer Alysia Burton Steele and the Tutwiler Community Center Student Blues Band. Admission is free, and the show will be recorded for later air on Mississippi Public Broadcasting. Hosts of the show will be Jim Dees and Thacker house band, the Yalobushwhackers led by Delta musician/instructor, Dr. Alphonso Sanders.
Dorothy Moore hails from Jackson, Mississippi. Her professional accolades began in 1976, when her recording of “Misty Blue” went to No. 1 on the R&B charts (No. 3 Pop). Her later hits included “Funny How Time Slips Away” and “I Believe You.” Her most recent CDs include, “Gittin Down Live,” “I’m Doing Alright” and her latest, “Blues Heart,” all on her own Farish Street Records.
Alysia Burton Steele shared a 2006 Pulitzer Prize with the Dallas Morning News team, where she was picture editor. She is currently an assistant professor at the University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media. Her photography book, Delta Jewels: In Search of My Grandmother’s Wisdom (Center Street) was inspired by memories of her beloved grandmother, and combines heart-wrenching narrative with poignant photographs of more than 50 female church elders in the Mississippi Delta. These ordinary women lived extraordinary lives under the harshest conditions of the Jim Crow era.
Dr. Alphonso Sanders is a multi-instrumentalist and Director of the BB King Recording Studio at Mississippi Valley State University in Itta Bena. He has been involved in music education for over 25 years as an educator and performer. Sanders’ CDs include, Mississippi Influences (2009) and Twice As Nice with Bill “Howl-N-Madd” Perry (2010).
The Tutwiler Community Center Student Blues Band is made up of students who attend the “Sonny Boy Club” at Tutwiler Education Community Center. The Sonny Boy Club, named for the late blues legend, Sonny Boy Williamson of Tutwiler, is made up of some 40 students who meet twice a week at the center to take instruction from volunteers in the basics of the blues. Music is one of many programs offered at the Center through the generous support of donors. Other programs include poetry, photography and a computer lab. To donate to the community center visit their website.
More information on the Sumner show and all upcoming Thacker shows is available at the show’s website. The Thacker Mountain Radio Hour can be heard statewide every Saturday at 7 p.m. on Mississippi Public Broadcasting, 90.9 FM in the Greenwood-Sumner area and 90.3 FM in Oxford.